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The Kansas-Nebraska Act
The Nebraska territory, part of the Louisiana Purchase, was still unsettled.
Land could not be sold until Congress organized the area into a territory.
Nebraska was above the 36,30 line, so slavery would be banned there,
therefore the North were in favor of it being developed and the South
were less keen. Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill into
Congress in Jan 1854, but realized that in order to pass the bill, he would
need Southern support. Southerners wanted a repeal of the Missouri
Compromise line, and Douglas agreed. Slavery was allowed in Nebraska,
and would be decided upon using popular sovereignty. The region would
also be split into two: Kansas and Nebraska. It was more likely that slavery
would take place in Kansas than Nebraska. The bill eventually passed.
The bill created a `hell of a storm', as Northerners saw it as proof of the
Slave Power Conspiracy.…read more

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Collapse of the Two Party System
The Kansas-Nebraska act led to the collapse of traditional political
systems. Whig popularity had been steadily declining, but their
indecisiveness over the Kansas-Nebraska act caused the party to
collapse. The Democratic party became divided between Southern
and Northern democrats (mostly Southern), and were blamed for
sponsoring the Kansas-Nebraska act, which lost them support in
the North. Concern over Catholic immigrants led to the rise of the
Know-Nothing Party, which had over 1 million members by 1854. It
was renamed the American party in 1856. Disaffected members
from both the Democrats and Whigs, as well as free-soilers and
abolitionists formed the Republican Party, which opposed the
extension of slavery.
This saw the end of national parties, as the new parties favored
either the North or the South, causing sectional tension.…read more

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Bleeding Kansas and Bleeding Sumner
After 1854 settlers began moving into Kansas ­ Northerners and
Southerners. There were concerns over slavery in Kansas. A number of
Northerners and Southerners tried to influence events, e.g. people
were sponsored to settle in Kansas. The New England Emigrant Aid
Company was set up in 1854 to encourage Northern free settlers to
move into Kansas. In 1856 the situation worsened, as pro- and anti-
slave settlers clashed. Pro-slave supporters sacked the town of
Lawrence and, in response, anti-slave forces attacked a pro-slave camp
at Potawatomie Creek. Charles Sumner, a Northern congressman,
made a speech over the `crime against Kansas', and in response,
Southern congressman Preston Brookes attacked him with a cane,
almost killing him. To the North, this was proof of Slave Power
Conspiracy, but the South saw Brookes as a hero.
These events saw the North and South clash, causing sectional tension.…read more

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The Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott was an African-American slave who attempted to sue
for his freedom in the US Supreme Court, claiming that he was
free as he had been taken to and lived in a free state. In March
1857, the court decided that Scott could not sue in a Supreme
Court as he was not a citizen of the US (slaves had no rights). They
also decided that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional
and that citizens could take their property (slaves) anywhere.
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger B Taney, was a slave
holder, so was seen to favor Southern interests.
Abolitionists were angered at the result and became more
determined to end slavery. The Southerners argued that the
Supreme Court was the law of the land, so its ruling was final.…read more

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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
A series of 7 debates were held in Illinois as part of the 1858 midterm
elections. The debates formed the campaign for the senate seat of Illinois,
and the candidates were the incumbent Democrat Stephen Douglas and
Republican Abraham Lincoln. The debates focused on slavery, race and slave
expansion. Upon accepting Republic nomination, Lincoln made the `House
Divided' speech, stating that the US couldn't permanently endure half-free
and half-slave. During the debates, Douglas attacked Lincoln, claiming that
the favored equality for blacks, and Lincoln responded by questioning
Douglas' idea of `popular sovereignty'. Douglas responded in his `Freeport
Doctrine', in which he stated that slavery could be blocked from a territory if
the local people and state officials did not support it.
Douglas was re-elected as senator for Illinois but in the process had alienated
his Southern supporters. Lincoln rose to national prominence as a result of
the debates.…read more

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Antonia W

Really useful powerpoint!

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